Plunder of Hindu templesunder The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Act of 1951, the govt. controls the hindu temples but not the mosques, churches and gurudwaras.hindus of the world should be very concerned with what is happening. there is no justice for 85% Hindus in india. is there a way to fight it outside india... any lawyers ready to take on the govt of india.Hindus wake up before we perish. take time to read and spread the message. do not let the blood of millions of hindus who sacrificed their lives to save temples go in vain.Our very roots are being threatened. -Raksha Aggarwal What is done with our money donated to temples? Much of it goes to Masjids so that the money could be used to buy arms and ammunition to massacre the Hindus. a Foreign writer opens our eyes The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Act of 1951 allows State Governments and politicians to take over thousands of Hindu Temples and maintain complete control over them and their properties. It is claimed that they can sell the temple assets and properties and usethe money in any way they choose. A charge has been made not by any Temple authority, but by a foreign writer, Stephen Knapp in a book (Crimes Against India and the Need to Protect Ancient Vedic Tradition) published in the United States that makes shocking reading. Hundreds of temples in centuries past have been built in India by devout rulers and the donations given to them by devotees have been used for the benefit of the (other) people. If, presently, money collected has ever been misused (and that word needs to be defined),it is for the devotees to protest and not for any government to interfere. This letter is what has been happening currently under an intrusive law. It would seem, for instance, that under a Temple Empowerment Act, about 43,000 temples in Andhra Pradesh have come under government control and only 18 per cent of the revenue of these temples have been returned for temple purposes, the remaining 82 per cent being used for purposes unstated. Apparently even the world famous Tirumala Tirupati Temple has not been spared. According to Knapp, the temple collects over Rs 3,100 crores every year and the State Government has not denied the charge that as much as 85 per cent of this is transferred to the State Exchequer, much of which goes to causes that are not connected with the Hindu community. It would seem that in Karanataka, Rs. 79 crores were collected from about two lakh temples and from that, temples received Rs seven crores for their maintenance, Muslim madrassahs and Haj subsidy were given Rs 59 crore and churches about Rs 13 crore. Very generous of the government. Because of this, Knapp writes, 25 per cent of the two lakh temples or about 50,000 temples in Karnataka will be closed down for lack of resources, and he adds: The only way the government can continue to do this is because people have not stood up enough to stop it. Knapp then refers to Kerala where, he says, funds from the Guruvayur Temple are diverted to other government projects denying improvement to 45 Hindu temples. Land belonging to the Ayyappa Temple, apparently has been grabbed and Church encroaches are occupying huge areas of forest land, running into thousands of acres, near Sabarimala. A charge is made that the Communist state government of Kerala. Wants to pass an Ordinance to disband the Travancore & Cochin Autonomous Devaswom Boards (TCDBs) and take over their limited independent authority of 1,800 Hindu temples. If what the author says is true, even the Maharashtra Government wants to take over some 450,000 temples in the state which would supply a huge amount of revenue to correct the states bankrupt conditions And to top it all, Knapp says that in Orissa, the state government intends to sell over 70,000 acres of endowment lands from the Jagannath Temple, the proceeds of which would solve a huge financial crunch brought about by its own mismanagement of temple assets. Says Knapp: Why such occurrences are so often not known is that the Indian media, especially the English television and press, are often anti-Hindu in their approach, and thus not inclined to give much coverage, and certainly no sympathy, for anything that may affect theHindu community. Therefore, such government action that play against the Hindu community go on without much or any attention attracted to them. Says Knapp: Nowhere in the free, democratic world are the religious institutions managed, maligned and controlled by the government, thus denying the religious freedom of the people of the country. But it is happening in India. Government officials have taken control of Hindutemples because they smell money in them, they recognize the indifference of Hindus, they are aware of the unlimited patience and tolerance of Hindus, they also know that it is not in the blood of Hindus to go to the streets to demonstrate, destroy property, threaten, loot, harm and kill Many Hindus are sitting and watching the demise of their culture.One thought that Mohammad of Ghazni has long been dead. Congress government is more brutal than Ghazni
HINDU TEMPLES BEING ROBBED RUN BY ENDOWMENT TRUST BY NON-HINDUS,HINDUS BEING REDUCED TO 2nd CLASS CITIZENS BUT THOSE IN BJP,RSS,VHP And other hindu organisations claim TO REPRESENT HINDUS HAVE NO CONCERN BUT ARE CONCERNED ONLY FOR Their gaddis.
RSS CHIEF MOHAN BHAGWAT WHO SHOULD BE REVERED AS A GURU HAS BECOME AN OBJECT OF HATE BECAUSE HE CONTINUES DESPITE DESTROYING RSS AND HINDUS. PRESTIGE WITH gaddi SEEMS TO BE ONLY OBJECTIVE. EARLIER THEY DESTROYED VHP. TOP LEADERS OF BJP ARE FOR PRIMEMINISTERSHIP HAVE BEEN UNDERMINING BJP ,HINDUS & HINDUSTAN IN THEIR BLIND PURSUIT DESPITE KNOWING THAT PEOPLE DONT WANT THEM. THEY ARE PRIMARILY RESPONSIBLE FOR DEFEATS IN 2004 and 2009 AND WOULD ENSURE DEFEAT IN U.P. MEANING END OF BJP. MOST DESPICABLE CASE IS OF ADVANI. Having rejected TWICE AND PROMISING AGAIN & AGAIN TO THE CONTRARY ,HIS BLIND AMBITION FOR TOP JOB HAS NOT DIMINISHED. HE ROTES KALADHAN BUT DARES NOT NAME GANDHIS, CHIDAMBRAM AND ALL THOSE MINISTERS & LEADERS OF UPA. IN LOGON NE TO KHUD HI APNE MUNH PAR KALIKH LAGA LI INKO TO KOI JOOTA BHI MARE TO KOI FAIDA NAHIN.AGAR AB BHI YE NA SUDHREIN TO YEHI THEEK HOGA KI UNKO CHOD DIYA JAYE. HAMARE VOTON KE BINA YE KUCH BHI NAHIN. MOVEMENT CHALANI HOGI. Aise doston se dushman bhale. Bhagwat Goel
FRIENDS REPEAT THIS MESSAGE WITH YOUR COMMENTS TO THEM.
It is a great irony that a secular Government should
deeply embroil itself in the administration and running of Hindu temples
andinstitutions in the guise of supervising the secular aspects of temple administration.
This grotesque policy of the Government to supervise religious institutions
applies only to Hindu Religious institutions.
grip on Religious Institutions
By its own account the HR & CE Dept administers
(or rather mal-administers):
temples belonging to Mutts
Specific endowments and 189 Trusts
This has been possible due to Tamil Nadu being ruled
continuously by atheists and unscrupulous persons, a corrupt bureaucracy, a
debased High Court and above all, stark apathy, indifference and ignorance among
Hindus. In recent times, the covert and overt designs of Christian missionaries
and agencies have added to the plight of Hindu temples.
Around 1840, the then British Government started
giving up administration of temples. They asked some of the prominent mutts in Tamil
Nadu to look after some of the important temples and endowments.
The Heads of Mutts who were happy to takeover the
administration of these temples so that they are run as they ought to be run,
were careful enough to get written documents or “Muchalikas” from the British
Government, which assured them that they would not take back the temples from
Thus some very important temples came under the
complete control and ownership of these Mutts and the Mutts ran them ably and
The primary purposes of worship and utilization of
funds meant for the upkeep of temples and conduct of rituals were never lost
sight of by the Heads of Mutts or officers. While a few temples were thus brilliantly
administered by the Mutts, thousands of other temples in the then Madras
Presidency were handed over to the respective trustees with the then Government
playing little or no role in supervising them.
In 1925, the Madras Hindu Religious Endowments Act,
1923 (Act I of 1925) was passed by the local Legislature with the object of
providing for better governance and administration of certain religious endowments.
The Act divided temples into what are known as Excepted and Non-excepted
temples. Immediately after the Act came into force, its validity was challenged on the ground
that the Act was not validly passed. For this reason, the legislature enacted
the Madras Hindu Religious Endowments Act, 1926, Act II of 1927 repealing Act I
This Act was amended from time to time. It is
unnecessary to refer to the changes introduced later. Suffice it to say that
the Act was amended by 1946 by as many as ten Acts I of 1928, V of 1929, IV
of1930, XI of 1931, XI of 1934, XII Of 1935, XX of 1938, XXII of 1939, V of
1944 and X of 1946. A radical change was introduced, however, by Act XII of
1935. The Government was not satisfied with the powers of the Board then
existing and they clothed the Board with an important and drastic power by
introducing a new Chapter, Ch. VI-A, by which jurisdiction was given to the
Board to notify a temple for reasons to be given by it.
Thus, it can be seen that even in the pre-independence
era, the Board had systematically consolidated its powers to take over and
administer temples. Of course, this despicable intervention by Government
applied only to Hindu Institutions.
Religious Endowments Board
Shri Krupananda Vaariar had undertaken to build the Vadalur
Ramalinga Swami’s Sathya Gnana Sabha in the 1940s and had gone around Tamil
Nadu collecting funds from devotees and spending such collection with great care.
The Hindu Religious Board, of which one Chinnaiah Pillai was president,
intervened in the selfless work of Shri Vaariar and tried his best to scuttle
it. Thanks to the just intervention of the then Chief Minister of Madras State,
Omandur Ramaswamy Reddiar, his evil designs fell flat.
Omandur Reddiar also intervened to stop the unjust
takeover of Chidambaram
in 1947. But Chinnaiah Pillai and his cronies in the HRE Board were not to give
The 1951 Act
Notwithstanding the clear directions of the Madras
Government in 1947 to drop notification proceedings and the clear direction of
the Hon’ble Madras High Court in 1939 that the Board cannot undertake notification
process on frivolous grounds, the Board started the notification process of the
Chidambaram Shri Sabhanayagar Temple in 1950 and the then Madras Government
issued a Government Order (G.O.) Ms. 894, Rural Welfare Dept. dated 28-8-1951
published in the Fort St. George Gazette on 4-9-1951.
Meanwhile, India after gaining independence
from British rule had become a Republic on 26 January 1950, with its
Constitution guaranteeing certain fundamental rights to its citizens. Special religious
and administrative rights were guaranteed to Religious Denominations or
The Board also tried to take over the famous Shri
Guruvayurappan Temple in Guruvayur, Udupi Shri Krishna Temple under the
management of Shri Shirur Mutt of Udupi and Shri Venkataramana Temple belonging
to the sect of Gowd Saraswath Brahmins in Mulkipetta of South Kanara district.
All the above religious institutions challenged the
takeover by the HRE Board. In the meantime, a new Hindu Religious Act was
passed by the Madras Government, known as the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1951. The Board was
now replaced by the Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments Department,
headed by a Commissioner who was given vast powers under the Act.
The Government facing stiff opposition in the Kerala
region against its order on Guruvayur temple, withdrew the order. Shri
Lakshmindra Thirtha Swamiar of the Shirur Mutt, the Podu Dikshitars of Shri Sabhanayagar
Temple and Devaraja
Shenoy representing the community of Gowd Saraswat Brahmins in Mulkipetta filed
Civil Miscellaneous and Writ petitions challenging the Government Orders.
On 13 December 1951, a Division Bench of Hon’ble
Madras High Court presided by the Learned Judges Justice Satyanarayana Rao and
Justice Rajagopalan passed two landmark judgments.
- 1952 I
MLJ 481 – Devaraja Shenoy vs. State of Madras – quashing the Government order
to takeover the administration of the Shri Venkataramana
Temple in Mulkipetta.
- 1952 I
MLJ 557 – Shri Lakshmindra Thirtha Swamiar of Shri Shirur Mutt vs. State of
Madras quashing the Government order to takeover the administration of Shri Udupi Krishna Temple
and Shri Sabhanayagar Temple
In the Shirur Mutt Case, many provisions of the new HR
& CE Act of 1951 were held ultra vires of the Constitution. The Division
Bench clearly defined a Religious Denomination, their rights - religious and administrative.
It also explained how these rights were intermingled and could not be separated
in the case of a Mathathipathi and since it was the same with the Podu
Dikshitars of Chidambaram
Temple, it equated them
Equally important were the findings of the Division
Bench that the attempt of the Board and the Commissioner HR & CE to
takeover the temples were not only unconstitutional but bad on merits.
The Government of Madras filed three appeals against
these two landmark verdicts. On 9 February 1954, a five-judge Constitution
Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dismissed the civil appeal 39/1953 after recording
the statement of the Advocate General of the Madras Government that the G.O.
passed to takeover the Chidambaram Shri Sabhanayagar Temple would be withdrawn.
The Government sought no leave and none was granted.
Similarly the Government’s Civil Appeal no.15/1953
filed against the verdict of Hon’ble
Madras Court in the Shri Venkataramana Temple Mulkipetta
was also dismissed after the Government offered to withdraw the G.O. appointing
the Executive Officer.
The Government of Madras contested only the Civil
Appeal 38 of 1953, pertaining to the Shirur Mutt Case and even in that appeal
did not contest on merits. The Advocate General argued only on constitutional grounds.
This was clearly recorded in the Supreme Court judgment.
Thus, it is amply clear that the HR & CE
Department and the Government never had any case right from the beginning on
merits, and they simply wanted to takeover the administration of large and
famous temples to pave way for the takeover of all other temples in the
Supreme Court judgment in the Shirur Mutt Case
The judgment of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme
Court in the appeal related to the Shirur Mutt (AIR 1954 SC 282) and the
judgment by another Constitution Bench in the Venkataramana Devaru vs. State of
Mysore (1958 SCR 895) are landmark judgments that Courts in India are expected
to follow regarding Article 26 of the Indian Constitution and Denomination
The Hon’ble Supreme Court agreed with the Hon’ble
Madras High Court that many of the sections of the 1951 HR & CE Act were
ultra vires the Constitution. It also clearly observed that while the
legislature could seek to regulate the administration, it must always leave the
administration to the denomination. It struck down the sections of the 1951 Act
which sought to appoint Executive Officers to religious institutions as
arbitrary andultra vires the Constitution. The Advocate General of Madras
agreed with the Court and said he could not defend those sections.
by the Madras
Government in the 1959 Act
Left with no choice but to come up with an amended Act
in light of the above judgments of the Madras High Court and Supreme Court of
India, the Government of Madras passed a new Act known as the Hindu Religious &
Charitable Endowments Act of 1959 (Act 22 of 1959).
In that amended Act, it committed serious frauds which
till today continue unchallenged. To understand these frauds we need to know
more about the 1954 Supreme Court judgment in the Shirur Mutt Case.
Under the 1951 Act, the HR & CE Dept. had powers
under sections 56, 58(3)(b) and 63 to 68
to appoint an Executive Officer to religious institutions including Mutts. Of
these, sections 56 and 63-68 were held ultra vires the Constitution of India
and were struck down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the above-mentioned
judgment. The same judgment upheld Sec. 58(3)(b) as valid (this section was
earlier struck down by the Division Bench of Madras High Court) since there were
adequate appeal safeguards and since the Executive Officer so appointed could
only be a servant of the Trustee and could not be empowered to act as the
Any honest and law-abiding person would imagine that
the Madras Government, in deference to the Supreme Court of India and to meet
the ends of justice, would have deleted the two sets of sections struck down
and retained the section upheld by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
What happened was exactly the opposite.
The Government of Madras introduced a new section
[section 45] in the 1959 Act which was even more arbitrary and draconian than
Sec. 56 of the 1951 Act. It also retained the Sections 63-68 in the new Act
which now carried the numbers 71-76.
The only section relating to appointment of Executive
Officer that was upheld by the Hon’ble Supreme Court was not carried in the new
Act. But this would not seem strange if we understand that the intention of the
Government and the Department was that no appeal safeguards should be provided
to the Trustees of Hindu Institutions against the Department’s illegal and
arbitrary orders. Sec. 58(3)(b) of the 1951 Act had earlier afforded such
safeguards – it was therefore removed by the Government.
More intriguing is the fact that this rogue department
continue to appoint Executive Officers under Sec. 64 of the 1959 Act (the equivalent
of Sec. 58 in the 1951 Act) without any power to do so. For example, the Deputy
Commissioner in 1963 modified the scheme for Shri Kamakshi Amman Temple of
Kachipuram, which is under the ownership of the Kanchi Mutt. While proceeding
to modify the scheme under Sec. 64 of the Act, the Deputy Commissioner
appointed an Executive Officer and this is an illegal act.
These frauds show there were adequate number of
scoundrels and scalawags in the HR & CE Department sixty years ago, and we
all know the Dept. has no dearth of such people now.
Going against the dictum of the Hon’ble High Court and
the Hon’ble Supreme Court did not stop here. One classic example of the
arrogance of the Government is the amendment they brought out soon after the Full
Bench judgment in the Rajan Kattalai Case in the Supreme Court (1965 SCR (3)
17). In this case, to get over the quashing of the Extension of the Executive
Officer’s appointment, the Government amended the HR & CE Act introducing
Sec. 75-A which gave such extensions retrospective effect notwithstanding any
judgments by any courts including the Supreme Court. This attempt to retain
control over Rajan Kattalai of Tiruvarur Thiagarajaswami Devasthanam in utter contempt
to the judgment of the Highest Court of the land in that case was thwarted by
the Hon’ble Madras High Court. The Hon’ble High Court of Madras, held:
introducing Section 75-A the Legislature has simply directed the Commissioner
of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments and Executive Officer of Sri
Thiagarajaswami Temple to disobey or disregard the decision of the highest
court of the land in S.D.G. Pandara Sannadhi v. State of Madras (1965) 2 M.L.J.
167. The obvious purpose of Section 75-A extending the impugned notification is
to nullify the effect of this decision of the Supreme Court.” (emphasis added).
In view of this judgment of the Madras High Court, the
Government could not succeed in retaining administration of Rajan Kattalai Endowment,
but this and other illegal sections 75-B and 75-C are still part of the HR
& CE Act, not only in utter disregard of the dictum of the Supreme Court of
India, but also in violation of Article 31A(1)(b) of the Constitution.
HR & CE Dept. officials carry out of a lot of
illegal activities in temples and other religious institutions. Most of their
orders replacing Trustees or interfering in temple matters are without jurisdiction
or in abuse of it. The general impression of Hindu devotees is that these
officials have the power under law to do such acts. Nothing can be farther from
truth. Every Hindu Devotee should be aware of the following facts:
(1) HR&CE Dept. or Government cannot
appoint Executive Officers to any religious institution without valid reasons
and without following natural justice:
As per the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Velur
Devasthanam Case 1965 SCR (2) 934, a case must be always made out for an
appointment of an Executive Officer. Government or HR & CE Department or
even Courts cannot appoint Executive Officers without strong justification.
This is the position in the case of non-denominational temples. In case of denominational
temples like Chidambaram
Temple, the HR & CE
Dept. has no rights at all, in view of the special status accorded to
denominations by Article 26 of the Constitution and by Sec. 107 of the HR &
Further, the Commissioner or the Department need to
follow the principles of natural justice while seeking to appoint an Executive Officer
and failing to do so would invalidate the appointment. This has been the dictum
of a Division Bench of Hon’ble Madras High Court in D. Nagarajan vs.
Commissioner, HR & CE AIR 1971 Mad 295.
Policy or “Better Management” cannot be reasons for takeover of temple
administration: HR&CE Dept. cannot appoint Executive Officer to any
religious institution stating it is Government policy to appoint Executive
Officers for most temples.
Better or efficient management too cannot be reasons
for takeover of temples from the Trustees.
(3) Executive Officer can be given powers
only to look after the properties of the temple. He cannot interfere in
religious matters or other matters of administration: Even in cases where
Courts have approved the appointment of Executive Officer due to presence of mismanagement
in the religious institution, the Commissioner can give powers pertaining only
to the properties of the temple or institution to the Executive Officer. No
other powers, administrative or religious can be assigned to the Executive
(4) Executive Officer’s office premises should
not be within the temple premises: As per rule 8 of the Temple Entry
Authorization Act, 1947, “the temple buildings and premises shall not be used
for purposes not connected with or arising from the worship, usages and observations
of such temples”.
(5) Any notice issued by the HR & CE
Dept. appointing Executive Officer should state the reasons for appointment and
should provide reasonable opportunity to reply or refute the notice.
Executive Officer or any other HR & CE official cannot introduce
innovations concerning the time, place or mode of worship in the temple or stop
or discontinue any religious practice followed in the temple.
(7) Executive Officer has no authority to fix
archana or darshan charges: This may come as a surprise to many but it is only
theTrustee or Trustees who can fix these charges and not the Executive Officer
or any other official in the HR & CE. This is as per Sec. 57 of the HR
& CE Act, 1959.
committed by HR & CE in appointing Executive Officers to Hindu Religious
In 1970, a division bench of the Hon’ble High Court of
Madras came down heavily on the practice of HR & CE in not following
natural justice while appointing an Executive Officer for a temple. If one imagined
that the Department would have corrected itself and adhered to the principles
of natural justice after this judgment one could not be more wrong.
To this day, the practice of the HR& CE is to
begin by issuing “an order” appointing an Executive Officer to a religious
institution. If the institution receiving the “order” does not seek any legal
remedy, the Executive Officer takes over immediately. If the Trustees file a suit
or writ against the arbitrary takeover attempt, HR&CE would state in the
Court that this memorandum can be treated as a notice and the trustees can
reply to it. Trustees and institutions naïve enough to fall for this stratagem
would accept this in the Court and start replying to the HR & CE Dept to
the “notice”. HR&CE Dept. would usually pass a “final order” appointing an Executive
Officer while the purported “enquiry” is still on.
If the trustees file a case against this “final
order”, HR&CE Dept’s stand in the Court would be that there is an alternate
remedy available to the petitioners by way of review petition to the Government.
Courts usually are inclined to tell the petitioners to avail this alternate
remedy, which in reality is no remedy at all as the Government is known to
uphold all the illegal and unethical orders of the HR&CE Dept.
There have been instances in recent times where HR
&CE officials demanding bribes to cancel takeover proceedings were
arrested. In 2009 a Joint Commissioner of HR & CE Dept was caught accepting
bribes for this purpose.
HR & CE Dept. claims it is administering only the
secular aspects of Temple
ensuring that the moneys due to the institution are realized and used for the
purposes for which the endowments were made. Lofty sounding, but if one were to
analyse what really happens in the temples administered by this rogue
department one would find corruption and looting not found even in
traditionally corrupt Government departments.
Temples and Mutts in Tamil Nadu own 500,000 acres of
agricultural and other lands. The tenancy laws in Tamil Nadu and the
non-functioning Revenue Courts make it almost impossible for landowners to
realize any rent or revenue from the leased lands. The HR&CE Dept., which
is hand in glove with the Government, takes no credible action to realize these
rents or arrears of rents. The Dept. gave a shocking reply to a recent query under
the RTI Act that it has no records of the ageing arrears or amount due to the
temples. This admission alone is enough to boot out this rogue department from
Temples in Tamil Nadu also own about 22000 buildings and
about 33,000 sites. These buildings and sites are leased out at values much
below the market value. The corrupt HR & CE officials and Tamil Nadu Government
officials and Ministers pocket huge sums for favouring leaseholders. These
buildings are also leased out to non-Hindus especially Christian missionaries
and charities which carry out their anti-Hindu activities from these places.
This is against the intent and dictum of the people who had donated these
places to the temples.
Huge corruption money flowing out of such transactions
is the main reason Government does not want to give up its hold on Hindu Temples
and institutions. Highly inflated project costs are another way by which HR
& CE officials loot temple moneys. For example, Podu Dikshitars of
Chidambaram had dismantled the Paniya Nayagam temple dedicated to Lord
Subramanya, within the Chidambaram temple precincts, as the roof and pillars
were bound to cave in due to loose soil in the basement. This was done as per
advice of engineers and stapathis; a new construction plan drawn at a cost of
Rs. 90 lakhs and work begun.
The Executive Officer after assuming office in the
Chidambaram temple stopped the sponsors from continuing the work. He has now
given a proposal for the same work at a cost of Rs. 10 crores!
A luxury Toyota car was
bought for Sri Maasaniamman Temple
near Pollachi at a cost of Rs. 11.5 lakhs. The first question that comes to mind
is why a luxury car is required for a temple.
It has come out in newspapers and through RTI queries that this car was
used for private purposes of the HR &CE Secretary in the Tamil Nadu
government. It is also now known that the monthly petrol bills of this corrupt
official were taken from Temple
Funds accumulated in fixed deposits in the accounts of
rich temples would suddenly be transferred for flood relief, tsunami or Chief Minister’s
relief fund. Funds were repeatedly taken from Tiruverkadu Mariamman temple to
conduct free marriages by the Tamil Nadu government. This temple which had huge
deposits of money became almost bankrupt.
Since the HR & CE stopped having external audit
from 1985, it is almost impossible to gauge how many antique and valuable
temple jewels have been looted. There is widespread belief that valuable
diamonds and stones in jewels have been removed and replaced by ordinary stones
in many temples. Missing Maragatha lingams worth thousands of crores have not
been recovered. Jewels from 215 temples have been stolen and this rogue
department does not even reveal the actual value of the jewels stolen. In many
cases the loss of jewels is not known to the outside world at all.
On 22 December 2010, devotees discovered that about
156 globes made of gold and 108 globes made of silver, in the palanquins of the
God and Goddess in the Perur Temple, were missing. This came to light only when
the Golden and Silver palanquins were taken out in procession.
More than 400 antique metal icons have been stolen
from temples under the administration of the HR&CE department, which has
not taken any credible follow up actions to recover the valuables. Instead of installing
closed-circuit cameras, burglar alarms and modern safety locks, the Department
keeps many icons belonging to various temples at one safe room in a big temple.
These icons are thus deprived of poojas and maintenance. Continuous neglect of
these icons can result in irreparable damage. Further, these sacred icons were
meant for worship and this Department willfully ignores this primary purpose.
While millions are wasted and looted by Dept. officials no care is taken to protect
Another crime commonly perpetrated by the department
officials is soliciting sponsors to celebrate festivals even for temples that
have sufficient and surplus income. Two things are achieved in this manner.
One, the unscrupulous officials are not called upon to
show the incomes realized from specific endowments meant for such festivals. Soon
the endowments or their existence would be soon forgotten and those properties
can be sold or leased out for a pittance. Two, bribes can be taken from
competing sponsors or accounts can be easily fudged when there are multiple
Kapaleeshwar temple in Mylapore has many income
generating properties. Still, the Department takes more than 80% of the money
required for the Arupathi Moovar festival from sponsors who are given undue positions
of importance during festivals ignoring devotees whose families and communities
have contributed for generations.
Prasadam stalls are amongst the biggest frauds openly
committed by this rogue Department. Only food prepared piously in the temple kitchen
and offered to the deities in the temple in traditional manner can be termed as
prasadam. However, Prasadam Stalls are auctioned by the Department (needless to
say many improprieties are committed in these auctions and allotments) to the
public and supposedly the stalls are allotted to the highest bidder. This means
the Department openly allows third parties to produce food items to be
manufactured outside the temple premises and packages them to be sold at
temples. This is an act which is at once blasphemous and anti-religious besides
being a huge fraud on devotees visiting the temple.
Besides, prasadam shops and stalls, other shops and
commercial activities are permitted by the Department. These acts of the Department
are detrimental to the serene atmosphere that needs to be maintained in temples
and commercialises Hindu religious institutions.
Hundies serve the Department in two ways. One, they generate
income which the Department fails to realize from the properties of the temple
it is administering. Two, they are the easiest source of income that can be
looted. In most temples, the real amount generated by hundials is never
accounted for. The only exception to this story is the tale of the Hundies
illegally installed in Chidambaram Shri Sabhanayagar temple. At Chidambaram the
Department is trying to prove a point by showing a big collection of hundie
monies. In the first place, the Hon’ble Division Bench of Madras High Court in
1951 had clearly ruled that the Podu Dikshitars are justified in not having any
Hundie in the temple and further stated installing Hundies and introducing
archana tickets commercialises the temple.
But after assuming office in the Chidambaram Temple,
the Executive Officer came with a posse of policemen and installed Hundies in
the temple that never had Hundies in its entire history. This is against the
law, temple tradition, and in contempt of the Hon’ble High Court of Madras.
After installing Hundies, the Department did two
things to ensure it is able to show good collection in the Hundies. It did not
handover the second key of the Hundies to the Trustees and they do not seal the
Hundies each time after they open it for counting. When it was pointed out the
Podu Dikshitars’ collection in gold and other valuables far exceed the Hundie
collections even today, and the public have not contributed a single gram of
gold to the Executive Officer like they do to the real owners of the temple,
the Podu Dikshitars, about 4 gms of gold suddenly appeared among the hundie
Hindus should question any attempt to takeover temples
in their respective areas by HR & CE Department. They should remember that
HR & CE officials have no right to takeover temples that are run by devoted
trustees. HR & CE Dept. is only a supervisory department even for temples
under its administration, and cannot decide matters pertaining to rituals and
Devotees should ask HR & CE Dept. pertinent
questions regarding the temple properties, the income realized, in whose
presence Hundies are opened, what are the procedures followed in making and
distribution of prasadams, salary arrears of temple employees, income arrears
for the properties, why Executive Officer was appointed for each temple, for what
period the appointment has been made, order copies of the appointments, arrears
of income pending from temple properties, action taken by the Executive
Officer, the festivals celebrated in the temple regularly 25 years ago,
festivals celebrated now, vehicles bought for the temple, who uses the vehicles
and for what purposes, etc. under the Right to Information Act.
Hindus should remember that it is not the duty of a
secular government to manage the affairs of Hindu Temples
or institutions. They should also remember that the same Government keeps away
from mosques and churches.
Hindus should join together and petition the
Government and the Courts to bring back outside agencies to audit the HR &
Hindus should take legal action against the Government
to restore the temples back to the Trustees or to appropriate Hindu
(The author is a banking professional and research
scholar on Hindu religious affairs)